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le lundi 31 julliet 2017 – Monday, July 31, 2017
Sandy walked to the doctor’s office to make an appointment for Phil. He will see another “sub” doctor at 16:45 this afternoon. Then Sandy made split pea soup with carrots, potatoes, and a little ham. We had some for lunch.
After lunch Sandy took at walk to the harbor. There was a very long line of people waiting for one of the Corsair Ferries to take then to Dinard.
waiting for the ferry
the ferry approaches
boarding the ferry
Good thing it was cool today or they would have gotten sun-burnt waiting in the sun for their boat.
Next she stopped at the boules area to watch a game. She recognized several players, but our friend Alain wasn’t one of them.
We walked to Phil’s doctor appointment, saw the doctor, stopped at the pharmacy for 3 prescriptions priced at 25€ and were home within one hour. That was the fastest medical appointment we’ve experienced here. Phil has a sinus infection, lungs sounded good the doctor told him.
le mardi 1 août 2017 – Tuesday, August 1, 2017
Sandy shopped for fruit at the Intra-Muros marché and Monsieur Alix told her that there were no more strawberries due to the drought and hot temperatures. Phil is still resting in our apartment. She took the #8 bus to the Courtoisville Carrefour Market to pick up a couple items and look at the beach on the way.
She walked to the Gambetta bus stop and returned on the #3 bus, all within the 90 minutes use of one ticket.
After lunch Sandy spent some time on the beach walking in ankle deep water. She forgot just how shocking cold the ocean is. The air temperature was 69 F or 21 C and sunny. Great temperature to be outdoors. She saw a jelly fish laying in the sand (the tide was going out) as large as a dinner plate.
le mercredi 2 août 2017 – Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Phil woke up feeling much better today. Hurrah!
It was raining fairly hard this morning so Sandy purchased our breakfast from Maison du Pain which is very close. The lady in front of her bought the last 2 croissants so we had pain au chocolat for breakfast. Delicious!
After it stopped raining around 11:30 we took a walk to the Gare to purchase monthly bus passes. This allows us to ride as many times on the bus as we want within the month of August. It is much more convenient.
Then we crossed the street to go to the La Grande Passerelle Mediatheque, also know as the library. We brought our most recent utility bill so our address could be verified and we could renew our library card. Sandy checked out a few books in English to read for pleasure and a few non fiction children’s books written in French to help her with vocabulary etc.
After lunch Sandy walked to the boules area to see if our friend Alain was playing. Surprise! The boules area was under water. We forgot how much it had rained in the morning. A man was using a spade like shovel to scoop water off the field. Maybe it will be dry enough tomorrow because we were having very strong wind after the rain.
le jeudi 3 août 2017 – Thursday, August 3, 2017
Busy day. We bought train tickets for our trip back to Paris as part of our return to the USA in September. Shopped at Intermarche grocery store. The cashier told us to put my fidelity card number on the phone app. We did download the app and will use it the next time.
We bought steak and chicken breasts at the butcher in the Rocabey marché.
in the marché
in the marché
in the marché
We put the groceries away, and then walked to Charley’s Bar and spent the next hour people watching.
After lunch, we reserved a hotel room at the CDG airport for the night before we fly back to USA.
We watched the “course des garçons de café” at 4 pm. Waiters from the restaurants race with a tray on which was placed a filled class of water and a bottle of water. The goal is to finish the race with your tray intact. Not an easy thing to do, especially down the stairs!
course des garçons de café
That evening we had a delicious steak dinner and after dinner, stopped at L’Entre Deux Verres to reserve a table for tomorrow.
We then listened to Les Corsaires Malouins. They are a local group of singers who specialize in sea shanties. They do a free concert each Thursday evening in July and August. The crowd gathers on the steps and enjoys a great little concert.
Les Corsaires Malouins
le vendredi 4 août 2017 – Friday, August 4, 2017
Our 44th wedding anniversary!
This is first day for French tutoring with Christine. I forget from last year just how exhausting it is to continuously concentrate for two hours!
On the way to the bus stop after tutoring, we admired the garden of Christine’s neighbor. Last year, we thought one of the shrubs in the yard had kumquats on it. The owner was out in the yard and Phil spoke to him. The shrub we had been admiring was a Passion shrub. The blooms are beautiful and the fruit resembles a kumquat. Interesting! We enjoyed a 10 minute conversation about his yard, then we had to hurry to catch the bus.
We were very tired when we arrived home. Had some lunch, took care of necessary chores, took a tiny nap and then had a coffee at Charley’s Bar.
We celebrated our anniversary dinner at a restaurant we’d looked at before, but not eaten at. It was called L’Entre Deux Verres which translates to Between Two Glasses.
L’Entre Deux Verres
We counted 14 tables which comfortably seated two people at each table. There is seating outside, but it was too cool to enjoy eating there. We toasted our anniversary with red fruit billinis and sauvignon blanc. Phil had a kind of souffle fish and potato starter. Sandy chose lobster linguine for a main dish and Phil had chicken in a pastry with grains and vegetables. For dessert we had apple caramel tiramisu and pistachio crème brûlée. We had a 19:30 reservation and the restaurant didn’t fill up until sometime between 20:45 and 21:30. A lovely way to celebrate an anniversary. It was delicious and a new dining experience for us.
entre / starter
chicken with veg
pasta and lobster
le samedi 5 août 2017 – Saturday, August 5, 2017
Today is the grand braderie or flea market of Saint-Servan. We walked across the lock/bridge and the wind was fairly strong. Sandy wore a light jacket but Phil did not. Looking at all of the items for sale was interesting. We bought a brand new cutting board for 1€ and a book on the origins of all the Saint-Malo streets 10€.
le dimanche 6 août 2017 – Sunday, August 6, 2017
It is a beautiful day. After breakfast we walked to Rocabey for their flea-market. All of the tents with items for sale were from a charitable organization. We didn’t purchase anything today. We did see every kind of aperitif glass imaginable!
We returned to Intra-Muros by walking along the Sillon beach. There were many people enjoying the cold water! The temperature of the ocean is about 17 C or 62 F. Too cold for me. We stopped in at Jean-Louis J’s store on the Grand Rue to make a couple small purchases. His boutique is very cute and everything is nicely displayed. As usual in France, he individually wrapped each item even curling the ribbon for a decoration. After lunch we walked to see if Alain was playing boules. While the course was in much better shape than the last time I saw it, no games were being played today.
Later in the afternoon, we walked to the beach and had an Orangina drink at the bar which is right on the beach.
This is the last blog for our 2016 trip to France. 2017 plans are up in the air. Hopefully there will be more to come!
Monday October 10, 2016 – Saint-Malo
Monday October 10, 2016 is Columbus Day in the USA. Many businesses had the day off from work. Malls and stores use it as a day to begin holiday shopping. Today in France the temperature was 6 C or 41 F when Sandy walked to La Fournee Malouine to buy our breakfast. This boulangerie is listed on the Saint-Malo tourism site as being one of the locations referred to in Anthony Doerr’s book All the Light You Can Not See. It is one of our favorite boulangeries.
We mailed a card at the post office, stopped at the syndic to pick up our keys to the cave that he borrowed, and looked at one of our “potential gifts” from yesterday. Unfortunately the box containing the gift says “made in China” so we decided not to buy it.
Corsaire ferry approaching the ramp in the Saint-Malo harbor
A nice three mast ship in the harbor
The three mast ship compared to the Condor Ferry
Tuesday October 11, 2016 – Saint-Malo
Tuesday October 11, 2016 is 5 C! Cold!! We spent one hour today with Christine for our final tutoring session with her. She has helped us a lot! We saw the kumquat bush her neighbor has on our way to and from Christine’s house. It was shaped and trimmed as a hedge but full of both kumquats and flowers. It was lovely to look at. We know that people can keep geraniums here outside all year without harm, but didn’t realize it stayed warm enough for kumquats.
On our way back we stopped at the Carrefour Market in Courtoisville to shop for a few items and while waiting for the bus sat next to an older gentleman. He was reading the Ouest du France newspaper from today and read the same article to Phil three times. When another lady joined us on the bench he read the same article to her three times too. Phil had a short conversation with him about the weather, the bus etc. He seemed to understand and responded correctly. It’s always interesting when taking public transportation.
On our bus ride back, we spotted two of the Corsair ferries in the basin. One of them, the open boat, was completely covered with what looked like a white plastic tarp. It’s in the harbor for the winter.
Sandy needed to go to the doctor today. She was able to make the appointment herself but the doctor available was neither of the two doctors she had seen earlier in the year. The doctor was okay, not as personable as the previous two she had seen and did not speak English, but figured out what was needed and we were off to the pharmacy. The cost of the visit was 35 euros and the two prescriptions were 8 euros. Hopefully, problem solved.
Hungary license plate in the car park near Port Saint-Louis
Wednesday October 12, 2016 – Saint-Malo
Wednesday October 12, 2016. Sandy had a much better night and of course, so did Phil. Phil shopped for our breakfast today and the temperature was 7 C. Definitely cool, but not much wind. Phil returned Sandy’s library books to the Mediatheque and almost froze. The wind had definitely picked up.
Later in the afternoon we took the recycling to the center and found a gift we wanted to purchase. It was sunny but cool so we soon headed for home.
Thursday October 13, 2016 – Saint-Malo
Thursday October 13, 2016 was the day for our last hair cut in Saint-Malo. The coiffeurese hasn’t completed the sale on her building and didn’t sound too happy about the situation. We took the bus to the IUT stop across from E.LeClerc. Phil took care of changing our mailing address at the utility company and tax office. Sandy dropped off batteries and light bulbs for recycling then purchased 6 items we needed.
We were back home using only the one bus ticket in the hour and a half allowed time frame for each ticket.
Friday October 14, 2016 – Saint-Malo
Friday October 14, 2016 was cloudy. Sandy shopped for our breakfast and purchased a croissant amande for the first time in quite a while. They are delicious! Full of almonds, a thin layer of thick custard, made with croissant dough and covered in powdered sugar. We think they have at least 1000 calories per piece. However, they aren’t available in the USA.
We took the navette bus to Saint-Servan. We wanted to wish the butcher and his assistant a good winter, thank them for delicious meat, good prices, and tell them goodbye. Sandy spoke in French to tell the assistant when we were leaving and when we hope to return. Phil bought a piece of filet mignon to cook for dinner with the last of our french fries. He wished the butcher a good winter and the butcher told him they await our return with pleasure. Lovely French expressions. We waited one minute for the navette to return to Intra-Muros. We were away from our apartment less than one hour.
Our filet mignon at dinner time was probably the best and most tender piece of beef Sandy can remember. Tres, tres, bon!!!
Saturday October 15, 2016 – Saint-Malo
Saturday October 15, 2016 was again cloudy and cool. Sandy hurried to take her shower and walk to the boulangerie before they were ready for their break at 9:00. She was crossing the street at 8:52 am as both of the boulangers walked outside their door. They greeted her warmly as usual and the younger of the two went back inside to help her. They had just placed a tray full of chou a la creme in the patisserie case and she bought one flavored with framboise and another flavored with chocolate for our dessert.
Later in the morning we shopped at Philippe Bouvier Chocolatier and took the rest of our leftover bread to the Place du Marché aux Legumes. We threw all of the bread into the grassy-flower area and watched sparrows, pigeons, and a gull enjoy the bread buffet.
gull getting the bread
flowers in the place
We intended to watch our friend Alain play boules for the last time in the afternoon. However, just as the game was to start it began to rain fairly hard. So, game cancelled and we stayed inside. By 17:00 the sun was out and the sky was blue. Too bad the rain cloud arrived at the same time as the scheduled game.
Sunday October 16, 2016 – Saint-Malo
Sunday October 16, 2016 was our last full day in Saint-Malo. Sandy had a short conversation with the boulanger at Simone boulangerie when she shopped for our breakfast. She told him we were returning to the USA. He asked where we were from in the states and he knew where Minnesota was located. He wondered if we were returning to vote. He also volunteered that he and others in France hope Hilary will win. It’s interesting to hear how other people in the world care about our country and what goes on there.
We walked to the hotel Quic-en-Groigne and told our friend Marie-Dominque farewell and made the first of a couple stops to the recycling-garbage area. She told us to have a good trip and they hope to see us next spring. We hope so too.
We ate in the middle of the afternoon at the Fish + Chips shop. Delicious and a huge quantity of both fish and fries. Very tasty and it was warm enough (19 C) to eat outside.
After eating we spent the rest of the afternoon cleaning, packing, and organizing. Lots to take to the recycle area in the morning.
Monday October 17, 2016 – Saint-Malo & Paris
Monday October 17, 2016. We woke up before daylight and walked to La Fournee Malouine to have breakfast. after Sandy put all of our sheets and towels in the washer. We told the propritriece that we were leaving this morning and thanked her for being patient with our French and for preparing such delicious baguettes and patisseries. We walked to the harbor to look at the high tide which had a co-efficient of 114. It was almost even with the street. The Brittany ferry moored in the harbor looked like a cork because it was floating so high. We returned to the apartment to unplug everything, cover all of the furniture and bedding in plastic. We turned the mattresses over so they would be ready for our next visit. Sandy took one more bag of recycling to the center and stopped in the Place aux Legumes to give the birds our last pieces of bread. Phil ran the vacuum for the last time and we rolled down all of the shutters.
Our friend Jean-Louis picked us up a couple of minutes after 11am and drove us to the train station (Gare). It was a gorgeous day, sunny and a temperature of 18 C. We visited with him and his wife Claudine, posted our tickets, and found our seats on the train. We had reserved 1st class tickets with our seats facing each other on the aisle. There were two types of seating available, the type we had with only one seat width on the side and 4 seats facing each other with a table in the middle on the opposite side. The ride was fine, less than 3 and a half hours and we were in Paris at station Montparnasse. It was sunny here and 19C. Sandy did not bother to wear her coat in the taxi. We took a taxi to the hotel Plaza Opera on rue de Maubeuge and checked in. When we were here in March we had a very nice room. There were two twin beds next to each other as a queen sized bed. There was a desk, one arm chair closet area and a luggage rack. In the bathroom was a huge bathtub with shower. It was one of their premium rooms and was on the 3rd floor. This time we were in a larger room but it is L-shaped. There was a king sized bed, a desk, arm chair, two stools, nice sized closet area with shelves and a luggage rack There was a full sized shower stall in the bathroom. We had two french doors leading to a “Juliette” balcony. We could step outside to look around and see the Eiffel Tower. The room also had another single sized bed that could also be a pull out trundle bed. We had requested a simple room with the two twins which made a queen bed. No extra view, windows, or space. We’re not sure whether we were given a nicer room because of our return visit within 8 months, or because the owner is good friends with Marie-Dominique and Michel from Saint-Malo. It was a luxurious room and huge in comparison to Paris sized hotel rooms. After settling in our room we walked to Galeries Lafayette Haussmann. Just like when we were here in March security officers were checking bags and under men’s coats before allowing you into the store. Sandy loves looking at the gorgeous stained glass center of this store. We made a couple purchases at the Paris gift area and walked back towards the hotel to find a restaurant for dinner. Our hotel is literally surrounded by hundreds of restaurants. We had a delicious Italian dinner at Cafe Rizzo next door to our hotel. Sandy had read about it on Tripadvisior in March but it happened to be closed the night we intended to visit.
high tide in the harbor
our room in Paris
our room in Paris
view from our room
electric charging station
charing an electric car
charging an electric car
small glimpse of Montmartre
FC BAYREN MUNCHEN
appetizer / entre
main dish / plat
plat – pasta & ricotta
Tuesday October 18, 2016 – Paris
Tuesday October 18, 2016 It was sunny and 15 C when we woke up. We enjoyed breakfast in the lower level room at the hotel. Sandy had pre-booked the breakfast at a special price. We enjoyed baguettes with butter and 5 different varieties of confiture, croissants, pain au chocolate, several types of bread to be toasted, hot chocolate, coffee, tea, warm milk, yogurt, fresh fruit, canned fruit, two types of cereal, soft boiled eggs, ham, cheese, and freshly squeezed orange juice.
After breakfast we walked literally across the street to catch the #42 bus to the Charm du Mars which is at the Eiffel Tower. Such a beautiful day to be outdoors. The area around the Tower is fenced off. If you want to purchase tickets, have tickets, or want to access the restaurant you must go through security. We caught the #69 bus which is a scenic route according to Rick Steves’ book. It is a long but lovely ride past the Lourve, Musee d’Orsay, Seine and boats, Bastille, Place de la Concorde, Hotel d’Ville.
We got off, enjoyed a lovely lunch on a terrace. Sandy had a croquet monsieur with salad and fries. Phil ordered chicken with a creamy mushroom sauce and rice. We walked around a bit, got back on the bus and returned to the hotel. What a great day in Paris. It was raining by the time we were ready for dinner. A quick duck underneath the canopy and we were at Cafe Rizzo again. Phil enjoyed steak à point on top of a bed of salad and freshly shaved parmesan cheese. Sandy loved her homemade ravioli filled with mushrooms served with a light, thin, creamy mushroom sauce. For dessert Phil had a traditional Tiramisu and Sandy had Tiramisu with fruits. They included raspberries, currents, strawberries, blueberries, and black raspberries. They were delicious! Back to the hotel to finish packing, etc.
Camps du Mars
from the bed room – Eiffel tower beacon
Wednesday October 19, 2016 – Paris
Wednesday October 19, 2016 was sunny but cool. We had breakfast at the hotel and inquired about our car service to the airport. It was scheduled for a 9 am pickup. We checked out and waited in the lobby for the car. There was a lot of traffic that morning and the car was about 10 minutes late. The driver was from Libya and spent the entire 35 minute ride explaining to us about his country and the troubles his family had. He had a wife and son and was planning to move to the U.K. where he would work at the bank HSBC. It was a very informative ride to the airport.
We checked in, checked our luggage and headed for TSA. Phil forgot to put his French Opinal pocket knife in our luggage before we checked them. He handed it to the agent who immediately disposed of it. That was disappointing for sure. Now we had 3 hours to wait. There’s always a lot going on so we were fine. However, the boarding time for our plane came and went and we were thinking of out tight connection in Detroit. Finally they began to board the plane. We were in the “Sky blue priority” so didn’t wait much at all.
However, as we descended the ramp what was waiting for us was a bus, not a plane. After crowding as many standing passengers as possible in the bus we took off. Sandy doesn’t do well holding on to the railing and frequently looses her balance on buses when standing, so it wasn’t an easy ride. After riding around the airport for almost 10 minutes we arrived at the bus only to have it begin to rain. We made it up the stairs and onto the plane. Our premium economy seats were fine. Still really not enough leg room for Phil but so much better than economy. Sandy prefers the 4 rows of seats that are “curtained” off from the rest of the plane. It took a long time to get everyone on board and we departed 45 minutes late. We had little hope of making our connection. Arriving in Detroit, we were the first passengers off the plane. Sandy had talked to the head stewardess and she explained what we needed to try to make the connection. A lady seated in front of us had a similar situation. We first waited in line for passport control, not too bad, then had to wait for and pick up our luggage which had been marked “priority” for a tight connection. Air France is good about that.
Delta made the decision (told to Sandy by one of the Delta employees) not to pay attention to the priority status and put our luggage with the general population instead of using a priority carousel. Finally got our luggage after an employee worked 4 times to get the carousel working, headed for Immigration control then to have our bags rechecked. Our next surprise, not planned or informed of, was we had to be completely rechecked at TSA. We hadn’t left the secure area of the airport having just arrived from Paris, where security is high, and we had to remove shoes, take liquids out of hand luggage, walk through a screener and Phil had to be patted down. Our Sky Blue status with Air France means we don’t remove shoes or liquids and are usually in a shorter line. Not so in the USA!!! It was now 10 minutes before our connection departed. We quickly scanned a flight board and saw it was still boarding. We literally raced, walked and ran to the gate only to see that it had already departed. We joined many other travelers at the Delta Help Desk. After speaking in person to an employee, she took us to one of the help phones, had us talk to a Delta representative since we’d come from an international flight, then printed the boarding passes for us. We were booked on an 8:30 pm flight. Phil called Hertz to tell them about our time change, we ate a McDonald’s fruit parfait, tried to calm down and relax then were able to board our flight. We were given premium economy seats again on the Delta flight but both seats were at the window in different rows of 3. It’s only an hour and a half flight from Detroit to Minneapolis, so no problem.
When we arrived in Minneapolis we were at one end of the airport. The baggage claim was at the other end. During our running in Detroit, Phil hurt his right heel. Now it was so painful he had difficulty walking. We weren’t sure if our bags made it so while Phil stood at the carousel, Sandy talked to the “luggage help” employees. Believe it or not, one of our luggage made it onto the flight we missed. The other piece was on the later flight that we traveled on. So, with both pieces of luggage we walked back to the other end of the airport to the rental car desk.
Our name was not on the “Gold member” hertz board so Phil spoke to one of the employees. Seems like Phil’s call to Hertz didn’t register with Minneapolis so they cancelled the reservation as “no show”. The employee arranged for a car, parked about 4 blocks away so another painful walk for Phil. We were in the car and out of the airport. However, neither of us remembered to ask for a map, the car didn’t have gps and it was now 10:20 at night. We’d been up and awake for 22 hours straight. The gps on Phil’s phone was ridiculously re-configuring and after a couple of wrong turns we were headed for Rochester, MN. We took 55 south to 52 south then in Rochester, took 90 west towards Winona. There was very little traffic but after exiting the highway on the Winona turn off Sandy spotted several deer next to the side of the road. Phil slowed down and we were both on the look out. We arrived at the Alexander Mansion B + B at 12:30 am on October 20, 2016. We’d been up and awake for 24.5 hours. Sandy looses her balance with lack of sleep and has trouble concentrating.
Thursday October 20, 2016 – Winona, Minnesota
Thursday October 20, 2016 we woke up in Winona. Sandy was able to sleep to 7 am (14:00 in France time) and Phil slept until 8 am. Phil’s heel is still very painful to walk on. Sandy feels discombobulated. There were quite a few changes to the apartment. Everything had been painted. A new tv, mirror, table, chairs, and sofa were in the living room. There are new gardens planted outside. It feels nice to return to a lovely apartment that feels like home.
An autumn fog hiding the tops of the bluffs in Winona.